French-born and Brooklyn-based designer Sophie Theallet -- whose crisp, chic dresses have become the favorite of both the fashion set and the style influencer Michelle Obama -- beat out an impressive roster of competitors to snag the coveted CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award, pocketing $200,000, a year of mentoring, and if previous winners are any indication, a very good chance at lasting success.
Theallet has been making headlines since 2008 when she assembled and all-black roster of models for her Spring 2009 runway collection. Since then, she's become a talent to be respected among editors and a favorite of one very powerful First Lady, already credited with making the fortunes of under-the-radar talents like Jason Wu. Mrs. Obama became so enamored of a certain dress Theallet made with a full, pleated skirt and a colorful stripe that she wore it -- and a similar style -- several times over the past year.
With this recognition, Theallet has proven the appeal of her quintessentially French sense of bohemian sophisticate that travels easily to LA, New York or anywhere else in the world. Beating out her competitors was no small feat, either, given the scope of talent among Alabama Chanin’s Natalie Chanin, Esquivel Shoes’ George Esquivel, Gary Graham, Waris’ Waris Ahluwalia, Monique Pean, Ohne Titel’s Flora Gill and Alexa Adams, Patrik Ervell, Spurr’s Simon Spurr and Wayne’s Wayne Lee.
Past CFDA winners have done a spectacular job of leveraging their award as a jumpstart for a luminous career and established label, including Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, Trovata, Doo.Ri and Rogan.